Stakes high for city casino bid

Ambitious plans have been unveiled to transform one of the most famous buildings in Leeds into an GBP 11.5m casino creating around 200 jobs.

The regeneration proposals involve turning the former Majestyk nightclub, on City Square, into the Majestic Casino – a multi-entertainment venue to include gaming tables, slot machines, a cabaret, as well as bars and restaurants.

The project to transform the listed building, which includes Jumpin‘ Jaks, is being led by Waterimage, a joint venture between Luminar plc and Lucien Barriere, a French hotel and casino company.

It is being billed as „a night out under one roof“ incorporating three floors with a live entertainment venue, similar to The Jam House in Birmingham.

An application for a gaming licence goes before the magistrates court next month which, if granted, could see the new venue up and running within 12 months.

Paddy Whur, a partner at Walker Morris, the legal firm acting on behalf of Waterimage, said around GBP 11.5m would be spent refurbishing the building.

„It’s the one piece missing from the City Square jigsaw. The Majestic is a landmark listed building and has a huge amount of history.“

The new venue would comprise a ground floor space with slot machines and gambling tables as well as a stage for music and cabaret. The upper balcony would split into three areas, with a restaurant and rooms for private gaming.

Plans for the basement area include a sports bar with giant TV screens and scope for private hire, as well as a disco.

Critics may be concerned that such plans encourage more gambling, but Brendan McLoughlin, chairman of Waterimage, said: „Apart from restaurants, there are no real facilities in the UK where families can all go out together. Our idea is to provide a one-stop venue where different generations can enjoy a night out.“

The Majestic was one of the country’s largest cinemas when it was built in 1922, seating 2,392 people, before it later became the Majestyk night club.